Introduction: This is the final review in a series that the Prometheus blog has been publishing this spring and summer to highlight the 2022 Best Novel finalists.
This review of Wil McCarthy’s Rich Man’s Sky follows previously posted reviews of the other four finalists: Lionel Shriver’s Should We Stay Or Should We Go, Kazuo Ishiguro’s Klara and the Sun and Karl K. Gallagher’s Between Home and Ruin and Seize What’s Held Dear.
By Michael Grossberg
Venturing beyond the Earth to explore, colonize and industrialize our solar system has been a dream of humanity – and that dream is beginning to materialize.
Four billionaires play key roles in striving to bring such dreams to life in Rich Man’s Sky (Baen Books, 291 pages), a 2022 Best Novel finalist by Wil McCarthy.
Continue reading Rich Man’s Sky: Wil McCarthy’s Best Novel finalist imagines billionaire-led quest for private solar-system development
As part of the Libertarian Futurist Society Appreciation series of past award-winners, here is our Appreciation for Robert Heinlein’s Red Planet, the 1996 Prometheus Hall of Fame winner:
By Anders Monsen
Many of Robert Heinlein’s novels featuring children have been lumped together and called “juvies” (or juveniles), as if they are children’s books. But, just like many Disney or Pixar animated movies, there are aspects of these works that go over the heads of a younger audience, whether those teens read the books as they first were published in the 1940s or 1950s, or whether they’re read today.
Red Planet, first published in 1949, is significant in terms of Heinlein’s bibliography, both as being one of the earliest juvies, and also because it introduces elements of Martian mythology that later appeared in Stranger in a Strange Land .
Ostensibly an adventure story centered around two boys on the run from an oppressive schoolmaster and conniving colony governor on Mars, Red Planet has two other themes or threads that elevate the novel beyond an adventure story. And make no mistake, this is written as an adventure story, with trials and tribulations that propel the action, for both the young and adult characters.
Continue reading An early “juvie” adventure in liberty on a Wild West Mars: Robert Heinlein’s Red Planet, the 1996 Prometheus Hall of Fame winner
Introduction: To highlight the four-decade history of the Prometheus Awards, which the Libertarian Futurist Society began celebrating in 2019, and make clear what makes past winners deserve recognition as pro-freedom sf/fantasy, we’re continuing in 2020 to present a series of weekly Appreciations of Prometheus Award-winners, starting with our first category for Best Novel.
Here’s the latest Appreciation for John Varley’s The Golden Globe:
A rare picaresque sf comedy among Best Novel winners, John Varley’s The Golden Globe follows the episodic adventures of a resilient itinerant actor living by his wits and thespian skills in the outer solar system.
Varley, clearly a fan of Shakespeare, updates the Bard in his 1998 novel to illustrate the theme that “if all the worlds (are) a stage – not world’s, but plural – then all the men and women in this are merely players… strutting, fretting and conniving through their exits and their entrances. And one man in his time plays many parts….”
That everyman man is Kenneth “Sparky” Valentine, the fugitive central character and an interstellar con man, who’s been on the run for decades from planet to planet. successfully evading the State authorities. Resourceful and scrappy, Sparky survives through con jobs and his high-tech ability to transform his age, his body type/size and his gender by altering skin-deep magnetic implants.
Continue reading Picaresque comedy, anti-authoritarian spirit and roguish individualism in an interstellar future: An Appreciation of John Varley’s The Golden Globe, the 1999 Prometheus Best Novel winner
To make clear why past winners deserve recognition as pro-freedom or anti-authoritarian sf/fantasy and how each fits our award, we’ve published review-essays of all past Prometheus Award-winners. Here’s the latest Appreciation for Ken MacLeod’s The Stone Canal, the 1998 Best Novel winner:
By Michael Grossberg
Ken MacLeod’s The Stone Canal ranges widely in its exploration of different political systems on different planets in a future marked by wars, revolutions, space colonization and a cyberworld in which people’s memories and personalities can be downloaded or uploading to clones on demand.
Among the many exciting ideas that MacLeod explores in his ambitious 1997 novel – Book 2 in his Fall Revolution series, but set earlier than The Cassini Division – are several of special interest to libertarian sf fans – including his complex and ambiguous depiction of capitalist anarchy on Earth, how free markets might develop on a terraformed planet in another solar system and the possibility of independent robots with individual rights.
The settings are far-flung, too, from 20th century Scotland to a 21st century extra-solar planet called New Mars with a free market. It’s a future of longer life-spans but also new kinds of death.
Continue reading Identity, anarchy, robots with rights and space colonization: An Appreciation of Ken MacLeod’s The Stone Canal, the 1998 Prometheus Best Novel winner